Hexxagon

Mobile version of Ataxx which is a great Othello-like game that is blended with Checkers strategy and could be almost as deep and complex as chess. 

If you’re used to board games and like the puzzle and strategy elements they provide, then this is the game for you.  In particular if you’ve ever liked Chess, Checkers or Othello/Reversi then go and check out Hexxagon!

Gameplay:  There’s a playing board made of a hexagonal grid and different maps are overlaid on top.  Each map has a different structure and the pieces start in predefined places.  Usually there’s only up to three starting pieces.  Each token can move in two different ways: it either spawns a new piece in an adjacent cell, or it flips the token to any position which is two cells away (i.e. no new piece is created).  Wherever your piece lands, if there are any opposition pieces in adjacent cells then it’ll convert them to become yours.  You and your opponent take it in turns to move your pieces.  To win each match you need to have the most number of pieces – there are multiple strategies which allow you to achieve this.

Hopefully that succinct description didn’t put you off.  It sounds a bit involved, but once you try the game you’ll find the basic movement easy because the cells change colours to help you understand how far your pieces can move.

Top stuff:  This is a really enjoyable game and I haven’t been this pleased by a puzzle game in ages.  Apparently this is based off the board game Ataxx, though I’ve never been fortunate enough to bump into someone who could explain that game to me.  I used to play chess quite a lot when I was young, and Hexxagon makes me think back to those times.  There’s quite a deep strategy involved and you can’t be gungho and go in all guns blazing because the AI will totally own you.  One must be patient and sense the subtleties in the opponent’s movements.  But if you do make a wrong move then you use one of your undo points (… you can’t keep undoing though because you’ll eventually run out).

I’ve played quite a bit of the puzzle game mode now but I still haven’t really figured out what’s the optimum play strategy in the various scenarios.  But there are over a hundred maps and nine difficulty levels for each.  As well as puzzles, there’s a rating game mode (read the indepth description within the game for more details).  However, I’m most fond of the fact that this has a three player mode!  So once you think you’re well and truly done with the game, there’s an awesome little gem which really tests your brains because you need to focus surviving against two opponents.

Verdict: 3/5  Love it… what a great strategy game.  This is a classic like Chess and Checkers.  I think the overall game finish is good – there’s gentle music which bizarrely I’ve not been bored of and the background graphics are cool (they have a Day Of the Tentacle map!).  The animations are done well and the maps keep me interested and thinking.  Now you might be thinking if I loved it so much then this should be 4 or 5 stars right?  Well the game doesn’t have a move to SD card function and so I’ve been playing the game with a painful reminder on my phone that it’s low on memory.  So I’ll have to uninstall this one eventually.

Tips from Android Game Reviews:  As you play against the AI you’ll notice it acts in different ways, so watch it carefully and you can learn some tricks.  For instance, when you’re down to only two cells left, it’s often better to try and flip a piece rather than spawn a piece in because whoever spawns into the very last cell will usually repossess more units at the end.

Generally there are two different play strategies: 1) go aggressive and try and overwhelm your opponent, 2) go defensive and try and hem your opponent in with a line which is two cells deep.  You can also use the map layout to your advantage to help block your opponent – particularly with island maps.

 

Hexxagon’s Promotional Youtube Video

Hexxagon QR Code
(Click on the image or scan the barcode with your phone to goto the Android Market)

Developers: Blind Logic